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Are Designer Collabs all they are Cracked Up to be?

August 11, 2010

Zac Posen for Target. Mulberry for Target. Jimmy Choo for H & M. Alice + Olivia for Payless. Every week is seems like a new collaboration is being announced. Designer diffusion lines are saturating the market.  But is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Isaac Mizrahi started the wave of designer collaborations with his line for Target in 2002. This was a huge risk that no designer had taken before. However, he made it work, and made himself a household name. He left Target for good in 2008, and he is now the creative director of Liz Clairborne, and totally revamping the brand’s image.

Designer collaborations are excellent publicity for up and coming designers to go from an obscure brand to a household name (think Rodarte and Proenza Schouler). It also aims at college girls and teenage girls who cannot afford the higher price points right now, but might become hooked on a particlular designer and purchase their high end items later on in life (like my obsession with Erin Fetherston).

The pieces are usually adorable, but the thing to remember is that they are not made with the brandtastic designer materials, but with Target and Payless materials and factories. Even though the designers themselves create the pieces, they do not stand up to the quality of the original designer line.

I own several pieces form diffusion lines like Erin Fetherston, Jovovich Hawk, and I Heart Ronson for JC Penney. Some of these items I truly love, but others were only bought because of their brand name, not because I was infatuated with the pieces.

I’m torn with how I feel about these collaborations. How do you feel about designer collections? Are they still trendy and fun or quickly over saturating the market?

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